Lawful and forbidden means

A time will come when people will no longer care whether their wealth has been lawfully or unlawfully acquired.  (Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA) and reported by Imam Bukhari).
How beautifully does this Hadith apply to the present times. When accumulation of wealth becomes the only priority for people, they lose what some people call conscience. Then it hardly matters whether the wealth is amassed through Halal or Haram means.  Allah the most exalted and the most revered Prophet (SAW) have repeatedly urged the Muslims to earn through Halal means alone. On one occasion the Holy Prophet (SAW) said that a person’s prayers who earns his livelihood through Haram means are not accepted. Similarly, no prayer is accepted if the person offering them wears a garment earned through unlawful means.
Islam has laid down guidelines for the traders and for other classes of people. Taking bribe, hoarding goods with the intention of raising their prices and all acts, which infringe the rights of others, or subject a person to loss, are forbidden. Therefore, one cannot justify indulgence in such acts. What has been forbidden by Allah and the most revered Prophet (SAW) cannot be allowed, cannot become lawful for a particular person not even for some particular time.
“Those who take bribes and those who give bribes are cursed by Allah.”(Al Bukhari, Al Muslim). When a person gives bribe, he gets something which otherwise was not due to him. Or to put it plainly he infringes the rights of others. Similarly when a person takes bribe he gives something to a person who does not deserve it. For example, if an officer receives a bribe and admits someone to a professional institution, he is marring the career of a hardworking and meritorious candidate. Taking and giving bribe are grave sins and shall land both of them in Hell.
“A merchant who hoards goods in order to raise their price is a sinner.”(Al Muslim).  Addressing the traders, the Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “It is not just for a man to sell his merchandise without disclosing its defects. It is proper for the vendor to tell the buyer of any defects of which he is aware.” (Reported by Ahmad IbnHambal). At yet another occasion, the Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “The trader who does not hoard essential supplies receives His sustenance, while the hoarder of essential supplies is cursed.”(Narrated by Umer bin Khataab (RA) and reported by IbnMajah).
In the blind race for accumulating wealth through whatever means, people sometimes stake claim to something which otherwise does not belong to them. “Three qualities are part of the good morals of a believer. When he is overcome by anger, his anger should not drive him to falsehood. When he is happy, his happiness should not take him beyond the bounds of what is right. When he is in power, he should not stake a claim to something which is not his.”(Narrated by AnasIbn Malik).
And, for whom do people accumulate wealth? Children. Allah the almighty addresses such people in the following words, “O Humanity! Do your duty to your lord, and fear that Day when no parent will be able to avail anything for his child, nor a child for his parent. Certainly, the promise of Allah is true. Never let this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief Deceiver fool you about Allah.”(Al Quran, 31:33).
When people cannot distinguish between right and wrong, they undergo moral death and it is from here that the beginning of the doom starts for people.

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